Accessible, fast-paced retellings of the most important classical Greek and Roman myths, adapted for middle graders.
Ancient myths continue to have modern relevance—for thousands of years they have been the basis for plays, operas, paintings, and movies. And in these retellings from acclaimed writer and scholar Philip Freeman, classic tales from Greek and Roman mythology find new life and inspire aspiring writers, artists, and musicians. Adapted from the lengthier Oh My Gods and specially tailored to a younger audience, these irresistible stories of philandering gods, flawed heroes, and tragic lovers portray the fundamental aspects of humanity and are filled with entertaining drama and valuable insights. Sixty dramatic illustrations enliven the book.
This competent introduction to Greek mythology, adapted from Freeman's recent adult title Oh My Gods, begins with a description of Creation, followed by sections on major and minor deities, heroes, lovers, and such stories as the fall of Troy and the founding of Rome, among other popular tales. A great deal of space is devoted to Zeus's love affairs and, more often, rapes. Other gods generally receive a page or two, although some who are naturals for a young audience like Ares and Athena are given little space. The heroes' tales receive significantly more attention, though they are mostly told in a pedestrian third-person style that fails to convey much excitement. As part of one of Hercules's labors, for example, Freeman writes that he "found the bull and wrestled it to the ground. Then he borrowed a trick that his father, Zeus, had used with Europa. He rode the bull across the sea and back to the mainland." Adequate as an overview, but there are stronger choices available, particularly Donna Jo Napoli's 2011 Treasury of Greek Mythology. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12.